I thought it might be a good idea (with a little help from LDV colleagues) to take a look at some of the good things he’s done, 48 of them to be precise, and encourage party supporters to make 48 calls to voters in our key seats to tell them about them this week. Not all of them in each call, of course, but there’s plenty to be going on with.
So, here we go:
1. From his very first major speech as leader, championing mental health and in government improving treatment and services.
2. Investing money in disadvantaged kids in school which is already helping to improve attainment figures in that group.
3. Defying both Labour and the Conservatives to cut income tax for people on low and middle incomes.
4. Having the guts to take questions for half an hour every week from members of the public on live radio.
6. Driving through shared parental leave, a policy which sums up what liberals are all about and ticks all the stronger economy, fairer society, opportunity for everyone boxes.
7. Arguing for mandatory sex education in all schools.
8. Making sure that the UK sticks with its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.
10. Stopping the Tories from removing benefits from under 25s.
11. Killing off Theresa May’s web-snooping plans.
12. Ensuring that the enquiry into phone hacking was led by a Judge.
13. Making sure that Leveson’s recommendations were implemented when David Cameron was unwilling.
14. Ensuring children have a free hot, healthy meal for their first three years of schooling.
17. Saying, way back in 2009, that he’d go to jail rather than carry a compulsory ID card.
20. He met the Dalai Lama, unlike Alex Salmond, who buckled the minute the Chinese Embassy sent the boys round.
24. Leading the Liberal Democrats into government for the first time in 80 years and making it work. This Government is certainly more functional than the last one and has at least accomplished its stated aim to sort out the perilous economic circumstance it inherited.
27. At least attempting to reform the House of Lords until he was stopped by both Labour and the Conservatives.
29. Defeating the then Labour government on allowing the Gurkas the right to live in the UK.
34. Setting out his Liberal stall at the UN in 2010:
These values are sometimes described as ‘Western’ values – but only by people who do not know their history. Four centuries ago, the great Mughal emperor Akbar was legislating for religious freedom and equality in what is now India, while in parts of Europe ‘heretics’ were being burned at the stake.
The truth is that these liberal ideals of equality, law and self-determination cannot be claimed by any nation, or hemisphere. They are global values with global force. They are also the values at the heart of the UN Charter.
We should never apologise for promoting the idea that women and men are equal; never flinch from insisting that governments chosen by their people are better; never shy away from our insistence that nobody should be silenced because of their religion or beliefs.
35. Being brilliant with the children on the Call Clegg Christmas special.
36. Getting himself selected at the top of the list of a region he had no real connection with in 1998, winning over the members and working tirelessly to give the East Midlands its first Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian in 60 years.
37. Not wearing this or any other onesie in public.
38. Wiping the floor with David Cameron and Gordon Brown in the Leaders’ Debates in 2010 (watch the ITV onehere) and I wouldn’t bet against him doing similar this time.
39. Being brave enough to say that wealthier older people should forego some benefits.
40. Extending nursery education for 40% of the poorest 2 years olds, much higher than anywhere else in the UK.
41. Securing £150 million to give young people with eating disorders the help they need.
42. 2 million apprenticeships. Opportunities for young people.
43. Making sure that if we’re going to have a monarchy, the first born child inherits, not the first born son.
44. Taking the time to write really thoughtful and lovely handwritten letters to party members on their special occasions.
45. Explaining the party’s actions frequently and with remarkable intellectual agility to the membership including regional talks and remarkable question and answer sessions at conference.
46. Keeping in touch with his Sheffield residents and people around the country with regular “town hall” style meetings.
47. Facing down Michael Gove on a range of crazy ideas, and ultimately seeing his removal from the education post.
48. Having the courage to advocate the positives of our EU membership.
So, thanks, Nick for all that. Happy Birthday. Have a good day.
Consider this post to be LDV’s birthday card to Nick Clegg. Comments will be pre-moderated as you obviously only write nice things on a birthday card, don’t you?
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron’s Musings